Lethbridge College is celebrating Black History Month in February with an array of cultural activities and learning opportunities for everyone on campus.
Organized by a committee of employees, students and the Lethbridge College Students’ Association (LCSA), events will highlight the diversity of the Black community at Lethbridge College and celebrate the history and achievements of Black Canadians while promoting equity, diversity and inclusion across the institution.
“Black History Month celebrates peoples of African descent, their accomplishments and contributions, but also their continued struggles to survive in settler colonial societies like Canada,” says Ibrahim Turay, School of Justice Studies instructor and PhD candidate in Cultural, Social and Political Thought. “While often subtle, hate based on race, colour and religion continues to be a problem in our communities. As a post-secondary institution, we have a role to play in fostering education and understanding, and these difficult discussions should also be central to Black History Month celebrations.”
Black History Month events at Lethbridge College begin at 10 a.m., Wednesday in Centre Core. Turay will join Dr. Samantha Lenci, Provost and Vice President Academic, and Jojo Kariuki, LCSA Vice President Student Life, for opening remarks.
Several activities will follow over the next four weeks, including Black History Month Jeopardy, a cultural attire day to encourage individuals to wear something that represents their heritage, and library displays and information booths. A special episode of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation podcast, LITL-Pod, featuring students from the Black community at Lethbridge College, will be available to download mid-month. Tune in to hear their experiences and get a multi-faceted look at their life on campus.
Thanks to strong interest in last year’s traditional West African jollof rice dish, the LCSA will be preparing and distributing dozens of Nigerian beef stew meal kits – a nod to the children’s book Thank You, Omu! Once again, students will supply a protein of their choice and all other ingredients will be provided. A bonus recipe for puff puff – a traditional African snack made of fried dough – as well as recommendations for films and books related to Black history, will complete the kit.
The Lethbridge College Food Court will also be offering Black History Month-inspired meals through February. Prepared and served by Culinary students and instructors, some of the specialties will include black bean and sausage gumbo soup, jollof rice pilaf, peri-peri chicken and jerk chicken.
A lunch-and-learn session featuring Nigerian inspired food and special guest speaker Moji Taiwo (Communication Arts – Broadcast Journalism 1981) on Feb. 28 will round out Black History Month activities. Taiwo, of MUT Consulting Services, is an author, speaker, coach, facilitator, retired civil servant, and creator and host of The Immigrant Experience Show on the YouTube channel Diversity TV. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa, Taiwo immigrated to Canada in 1978. During the noon-hour presentation, Taiwo will share her story as a newcomer to Canada and how she broke barriers as a woman – and a woman of colour – to become a leader in Alberta’s corrections system. The event will take place in-person in The Cave (CE1300) and online over Zoom.
An hour of music and conversation, featuring a culturally diverse playlist curated by students, will follow the lunch-and-learn session and bring Black History Month activities to a close.
“Holding annual celebrations keeps the dream of our predecessors shining bright,” Kariuki says. “But a greater task bestowed on us, as descendants of kings and queens, is to learn and teach more about who we are, our history and our essence. American filmmaker Ava DuVernay says of diversity, that ‘it’s not a box to check – it is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us.’ These events remind us that there is strength in unity and to have hope – and a vision – for better days.”
Lethbridge College has been holding official Black History Month celebrations since 2017.